Woodford Reserve Derby bottle 2022

The Woodford Derby 2022 bottle is revealed!

Woodford Reserve Derby bottle 2022
And we’re off! For Derby 2022. | Courtesy

March is finally here, which means Louisvillians can brace themselves for warmer weather, two chances to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and a looming countdown to the Kentucky Derby, even though we’re still 68 days away. The first news out of the gate: Woodford Reserve has revealed its special Derby 2022 bottle.

This year’s fancy bottle features the artwork of Kentucky native Jaime Corum, an equine artist known for her horse portraits. The painting on the bottle, titled “Dreams in Bloom,” features three thoroughbreds racing neck-and-neck, surrounded by a vivid spring flowers, including the iconic red roses of Derby.

Woodford Reserve Derby bottle 2022

“The attention to detail in Jaime’s artwork is remarkable — and so realistic,” said Woodford Master Distiller Chris Morris in a news release. “This year’s bottle celebrating the 148th Kentucky Derby will make a gorgeous addition to anyone’s bar.”

So how do you get the bottle for your bar and/or impending Derby party? Well, you can pre-order your bottle now at ReserveBar if you don’t live in Kentucky, but if you do, it should be available wherever you buy booze later this month.

Unlike most other limited-edition bottles, these tend to hang around a while, so no need to rush out or stand in line. The 1-liter bottle is priced at $49.99.

Woodford has released special Derby bottles since 1999. I think the oldest one in my personal collection is 2007, but I’m not really trying to collect them due to increasingly limited shelf space. Occupational hazard, I suppose.

Woodford Reserve Derby bottles

Woodford Reserve Derby Bottle 2021 artwork flows with 2020 bottle; Evan Williams Kentucky Derby Fest bottle; new Maker’s Mark wood finish

The sun is shining in my old Kentucky home today, and with talk of the Kentucky Derby, I feel as if spring is officially here. I jumped on a Zoom call this morning with fellow Louisville media to hear all about the new Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bottle, which features equine artwork from the same artist as last year — Richard Sullivanand, get this, the image is basically an extension of last year’s art.

Why does that matter? Because it’s going to look damn cool on your bar, that’s why! Sullivan’s image of the horses running the Kentucky Derby has basically been extended between the two bottles, so you can display them side by side and practically have Derby artwork on your bar — with delicious bourbon inside!

Woodford Reserve Derby bottles
The one on the left is the 2020 bottle, and 2021 is on the right. | Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

Bourbon and art make a lovely pair.

In this morning’s press conference, Sullivan, a Louisville-based artists and former professional baseball player, said this opportunity has been a dream come true, and his artwork is meant to “capture the spirit of the Kentucky Derby.”

The bottles will hit shelves as early as this week and retail for $49.99. You might be able to find some of the 2020 bottles in area liquor stores, and in fact, I just saw some recently at the Total Wine in St. Matthews.

Evan Williams releases Kentucky Derby Festival bottle March 11
Evan Williams Kentucky Derby Festival bottle
Love that pink! | Courtesy of Evan Williams

And speaking of Derby, the fine folks at the Kentucky Derby Festival are once again partnering with Evan Williams for the annual Kentucky Derby Festival Bottle that features the 2021 Pegasus Pin on the neck. This year, the wax is a dapper hot pink!

The limited-edition 2013 vintage is bottled at 115 proof, which commemorates both the 66th Kentucky Derby Festival plus the 49th Pegasus Pin anniversary (66+49=115). Each bottle of the single barrel bourbon contains the exact day it was put into an oak barrel to age, the barrel number and the date it was bottled.

“Our partnership with Evan Williams celebrates two of Kentucky’s favorite things — the Derby Festival and bourbon,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO, in a news release. “Although 2021 will be different, Pegasus Pins are still a great way to share the Derby Festival spirit and support your favorite events.”

The bottles will be available mostly at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville on Thursday, March 11. They’ll retail for $74.99.

Say hello to Maker’s Mark FAE-01
Maker's Mark FAE-01
Can’t wait to try this! | Courtesy of Maker’s Mark

Also coming out this week is a new limited release in the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series, titled FAE-01. This is the third in the series and is named after the staves that altered the standard Maker’s Mark bourbon.

“For 2021, we leaned into our column stills and nonchill-filtering process, which, simply put, helps us retain the texture and a higher viscosity of the whisky,” said Jane Bowie, Maker’s Mark Director of Innovation, in a news release. “What we got is an expression that highlights the fruit-forward taste profile in an unexpected and much welcomed way. It tastes just like a barrel warehouse smells.”

Now you got my attention! The smell of a rick house is like no other, and it brings me pure joy whenever I’m inside one.

The bourbon will be released anywhere from 110.3-110.6 proof and retail for $59.99 a bottle.